Do You Feel Safer From Terrorism? Readers Say "No"

By on January 11, 2010 in Current Events with 0 Comments

Probably the most important job of the federal government is to keep citizens safe from foreign aggression—including acts of terrorism. That may also be the toughest job for the government and it is a topic that often gets caught up in domestic political squabbles.

The topic has been dominating recent news headlines as a result of an attempted bombing of a flight to the United States by a 23-year old Nigerian man. The aftermath has embroiled many in the Administration in discussions about the terrorism issue on topics ranging from new restrictions on air travelers, full body scanners, and privacy rights.

And, for those who follow the relationship between events and politics, there have been open discussions in the press about whether the Director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, should keep her job as a result of her comment shortly after the bombing attempt that "the system worked."

Last week, we asked readers, most of whom are current or retired federal employees:

Do you feel safer from acts of terrorism than you did a year ago?

Here are the results:

yes: 11.9%

no: 82.6%

undecided: 5.4%

It is a topic on which people have a strong opinion.

Those who do not feel safer often blamed the policies or philosophy of the Obama administration. Many of these readers say the government should be profiling people for security reasons.

Those who do feel safer, generally stated that they think the Obama administration has taken diplomatic action that makes Americans safer than we were under President Bush. These readers also said they think the country is safer because we have had more experience dealing with terrorism and have implemented procedures to make us safer.

Here is a sample of comments from readers who do not feel safer.

  • If you knew what we know, it would scare you to death!
  • Profiling, profiling, profiling…Take a lesson from the Israelis. They profile…So what if somebody gets their feelings hurt.
  • At times it seems the current administration places political correctness above national security.
  • How can you feel safer when the President thinks that we are the problem?
  • I do not feel enough is being done at airports. We need to have a more stringent look at the people and bags that want to fly. We should look more carefully at non-citizens flying into our nation. I see nothing in the US Constitution that guarantees any rights of privacy to non-US citizens.
  • Most of the measures put in place are just posturing, not real security. I for one don’t mind losing some individual freedom/rights to know that I am boarding a plane that will safely arrive.
  • I have never been so afraid for the safety of this Country in my entire life.
  • I can’t believe we rounded up Japanese Americans during WWII, who really weren’t a threat to us. Yet we haven’t closed off our borders to Islamic nations and encourage other countries to do the same. Then maybe the decent Islamic people would rise up against their oppressors.
  • We will be at war with terrorism for a very long time if not forever. The past administration realized this. We now have a very weak and inexperienced Commander and Chief and terrorist leaders know this by the apology tours and policies.
  • Liberal democracy is not reconcilable with Islam. When the West faces that reality and takes steps to deflect the dagger from it’s neck, I will feel safer. First step is to strip the mystic shroud from Islam and recognize it for the political, military, social mechanism of power it really is. Religion? No more than was Nazism, Communism or Socialism.
  • The current administration fails to recognize the gravity of this threat. Unfortunately, it is probably going to take another "successful" attack on the U.S. for that to change. But, if we treat our enemies real nice…..then, maybe they’ll forget their disdain for our way of life. What’s that saying….Yeah, when pigs fly!!
  • What have the TSA and Dept of Homeland Security accomplished since their creation?
  • Approach to threats is incorrect, except for politics. There should be profiling!
  • I don’t believe that any of those presidential appointees or backers of the current administration who have high ranking positions because of their political affiliations understand or care what goes on outside of their little insulated worlds. I have worked for the Federal Government for 28 years and those inside the beltway "do not have a clue."
  • The administration is in denial that we are at war!!!
  • Just the same as before since Pres. Obama hasn’t really had time to implement much new and since Cheney/Bush didn’t closely manage. NO CHANGE. I believe they always try to test a new president and so far, we’ve avoided another 9/11.
  • When we don’t arrest and deport aliens who smuggle in terrorists and their equipment, but we do have people take off their shoes at airports – why should we?
  • When intelligence operatives and analysts have to worry about being criminally prosecuted by their own country for doing their jobs, how can we expect them to take action on strong, though not solid, threats. The current administration has hamstrung the intelligence community.
  • Security is out of the headlines because the Obama administration honestly believes that the Christmas day event WAS an "isolated incident." This administration, and the left-leaning democrat party, will be the death of Americans by turning its head away from the war on terror. They just do not get it! The Muslim world will not rest until the West eradicated.

While it is obvious from the overall results, there many fewer comments from people who stated they feel safer. Here is a sample of these comments:

  • I feel safer because people in general are more observant and suspicious than they were before 9/11, not because Homeland security has gained omnipotencey.
  • Just ridding ourselves of the old war-focused administration makes the world a better place and helps reduce hostilities. It will take decades to really make a difference, but Obama is moving in the right direction diplomatically.
  • U.S. is less hated abroad than it was a year ago; also, likelihood of being killed in a terrorist attack is very small anyway.
  • Yes – It is reassuring to have a Commander in Chief who understands the world in a comprehensive manner.
  • Most security checks in the airports that I have frequented in the last year have been pretty thorough — and let’s face reality: no security program will ever be 100% secure, because anything that can be designed by humans can be outsmarted by humans.
  • Thank you to the troops who are taking the fight to the terrorist. Despite the naysayers here at home, those soldiers are occupying the enemy abroad and keeping the majority of them outside the country. Can we do better? Assuredly! Are we safer today than before 9/11? Yes, beyond the shadow of a doubt.
  • One of the two ways of stopping such attacks worked recently. Passengers jumped the guy.
  • When flaws in security are found, they are corrected and the result is a safer environment.
  • U.S. is less hated abroad than it was a year ago; also, likelihood of being killed in a terrorist attack is very small anyway.

Some readers said they were undecided on the issue. Here is a sample of their responses:

  • It really has not changed one way or the other.
  • We’ll NEVER be totally safe from attack in whatever form, which I’m not going to worry about, but some banned things seem ridiculous (nail-clippers??)
  • We have to remember that there are NO GUARANTEES in this world; do we really want to sacrifice our freedoms and our privacy to the false god of absolute SECURITY? If we do, they’ve won–they’ve destroyed our American way of life.
  • I feel we are safer in the sense that we have disrupted the training and financing of terrorist operations but airline security is a farce. It’s all a show to make people think flying is safer. I have more faith in fellow passengers disrupting an attack than I do in TSA stopping someone from getting on.
  • Feds and former feds know bureaucratic culture is often impervious to change. At least we now have a President willing to listen. That’s an improvement.
  • I don’t know what to think. Terror attempts are still occurring well over EIGHT years when we were first promised a "safer" country due to increased security. I see the increased security, but do I feel safer ? I just don’t know.

Our thanks to the many readers who took the time to respond to this survey and a special thanks to those who sent in their written opinion.

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